King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter EDGAR diguised
EDGAR enters in disguise.
Yet better thus, and known to be contemned,
Than still contemned and flattered. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.
5The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts.
Still, I’m better off now, as a beggar who is openly hated, than when I was flattered to my face hated in secret. The lowliest and most dejected creatures live without fear and still harbor hope. The worst kind of change is when good fortune turns sour. At the bottom, any change is for the better. So I welcome this wind freely. I’ve sunk as far down as I can go, so I’ve got nothing more to fear from the weather.
Enter GLOUCESTER led by an OLD MAN
GLOUCESTER enters, led by an OLD MAN.
10But who comes here?
My father, poorly led? World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Life would not yield to age.
But who is this? My father, led by a poor peasant? Oh, life is full of surprises! We age and die because they wear us out.
(to GLOUCESTER)    O my good lord,
I have been your tenant and your father’s tenant these fourscore years.
(to GLOUCESTER) My good lord,
I’ve rented land from you and your father for eighty years.
Away, get thee away. Good friend, be gone.
Thy comforts can do me no good at all.
Thee they may hurt.
Away, get out of here. Leave me, my friend. There’s nothing you can do to help me now, and being with me puts your life in danger.
20Alack, sir, you cannot see your way.
But you can’t see where you’re going, sir.
I have no way, and therefore want no eyes.
I don’t have anywhere to go, so I don’t need to see. When I could see, I didn’t always see clearly. I made